Study Reveals Implementation of Telehealth in School-based Health Care Setting Provides Large Beneficial Impact

Study Reveals Implementation of Telehealth in School-based Health Care Setting Provides Large Beneficial Impact

NEW YORK, May 18, 2021 – During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth became a critical health care delivery method and new research published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care shows the positive impacts it can have in school-based health centers (SBHC). More than 89% of SBHCs provide health care access to vulnerable children who attend Title I designated schools.

The projected highest need for SBHC medical services in the upcoming school year are immunization updates and physical examinations. Social distancing throughout the quarantine created a record-breaking decline in immunizations for U.S. children, with a decrease of more than 2.5 million doses for routine, non-influenza pediatric recommended vaccinations.

Through creative responses that emerged throughout the coronavirus quarantine, SBHCs remained a leading resource for students to get patient-centered care directly at home via telehealth. SBHCs that successfully transitioned to or continued providing care via telehealth platforms were able to provide much-needed primary and behavioral health services in the months immediately following COVID-related school closures when stress and uncertainty created environments in which youth needed support more than ever.

“Nationwide continuance of SBHC telehealth services will require ongoing federal and state support to remove regulatory barriers. This pandemic has highlighted the need for SBHC across the nation and demonstrated the important role telehealth plays in facilitating equitable access to basic health care needs for vulnerable children and youth,” said study co-author Suzanne Mackey, MPH, director of policy for the School-Based Health Alliance.

Telehealth implementation can support schools and communities and mitigate future strain on the health care system by keeping youth from over-burdened emergency departments and providing needed mental health care. State and federal policy changes can ensure the continued provision of telehealth by SBHCs for disadvantaged youth.

“Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrate the value of SBHCs, which continue to target barriers to health care access, protect the most vulnerable and decrease the spread of disease,” said study lead author Anna Goddard, PhD, APRN, project advisory for the School-Based Health Alliance.

The study will be published in the May/June edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed online.

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 healthcare practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health. www.NAPNAP.org

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